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PRSSA National Conference: What Priorities Must a Leader Possess?

T.R. Straub of Heyman Associates presented on key issues in the public relations field and leadership development priorities at the PRSSA National Conference.

As T.R. Straub of Heyman Associates explained to a room full of eager PRSSA presidents at national conference in Washington D.C., “leadership and management are not the same, nor are they mutually exclusive.”

Straub discussed how managers control a group’s day-to-day tasks, while a leader sets the vision, inspires, course corrects and ensures that goals are met. Although these leadership qualities are essential for a successful company, these necessary skills are not innate and must be learned and must constantly evolve.

During the session, he presented a bulleted list of several key issues in the public relations field and leadership development priorities. Straub then asked the chapter presidents to pick their top three in each category and led a discussion on the correct answers, which are listed below:

Key Issues in the PR Field

  • Speed and volume of information flow
  • Digital revolution and rise of social media
  • Effectively managing crises

Straub also discussed improving measurement of communication to demonstrate value, highlighting the following leadership development priorities:

  • Strengthen change management skills and capabilities
  • Improve the listening skills of professionals
  • Enhance conflict management skills
  • Develop better measures to document the value and contributions of PR

After looking at the key issues and leadership development priorities, Straub connected the skills we would need as potential leaders in communication, which include social and digital, crisis management, and measurement. Leadership style should constantly evolve, and differentiating skills, such as conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity and emotional intelligence, make a leader stand out. In order to lead, being the best at what you practice isn’t enough – you must be able to admit fault and evolve to fit the style of leadership your team needs.

Being a future professional, I will be under different leaders, but when the time comes for me to lead a team, I hope I can listen, evolve, and better myself in the process. Straub encouraged a ready crowd of future leaders to take on the PR world and enhance its efficiency by evolving its leadership style. In doing so, public relations will continue to grow and influence the world in a positive way. 

This post is courtesy of Kiley Herndon who serves as PRSSA president on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville chapter. She is a senior majoring in English and Public Relations with a hunger for travel and knowledge. You can find her on Twitter @k_herndo. 

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